Hematology/Oncology Updates – April 2020

Recent Hematology/Oncology Division Faculty on National & International Committees & Boards

Dr. Kelly Davidson – Member, American Board of Internal Medicine Hematology Exam Committee

Dr. Laahn Foster – Member, ASH Governmental Affairs Committee

Dr. Varinder Kaur – Member, ASCO Educational Book Expert Panel
ASCO/ABIM- Test Material Development sub-committee
ASCO Systemic Therapy for Melanoma Guidelines Development Panel

Dr. Michael Keng – Chair, ASCO Quality Training Program
Committee Member, ASH Committee on Quality

Dr. Tamila Kindwall-Keller – Medical Monitor, BMT CTN CIBMTR Plasma Cell Working Group

Dr. Daniel (Trey) Lee – Member, Immune Effector Cell-related Adverse Events Subcommittee, Society
for Immunotherapy of Cancer

Dr. Matthew Reilley – Committee Member, North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETs)

Dr. Michael E. Williams – Editorial Board member, Journal of Clinical Oncology and Annals of Lymphoma;
Member, Executive Committee, Lymphoma Research Foundation Scientific
Advisory Board


Message from Medical Oncology Section Head, Dr Robert Dreicer

On November 14, 2019 many members of the section participated in the inaugural UVA Cancer Center Inova Schar Cancer Institute Oncology Update held at the Boars Head Inn. This full-day CME meeting was a mixture of didactic and case-based discussions covering major topics in Oncology. Dr Brady Patterson of our Cardiology Division presented a keynote discussion on the evolving field of cardio-oncology. The meeting was well attended and received and our 2nd conference is scheduled for November 19, 2020.

Ryan Gentzler was awarded a NIH UM1 grant. He will serve as a PI along with 4 other co-PIs on this multi-PI grant to fund the NIH-sponsored Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN). This is a collaborative effort with investigators from Johns Hopkins University with a budget of $10 million over 6 years that will fund a cooperative network of investigators from Johns Hopkins, Emory, Georgetown, Thomas Jefferson, Wisconsin, and UVA to conduct multi-institutional phase I and phase II cancer trials in collaboration with the NCI. As a member of the PI leadership team, Dr. Gentzler will oversee grant activities across all sites. He will also serve as the site PI for UVA. Matthew Reilley, Michael Devitt, and Michael Hanley (Dept of Radiology) will also receive support from this grant as representatives from UVA serving as disease-focused clinical investigators in GI oncology, GU oncology, and interventional radiology procedures, respectively.


Message from Hematologic Malignancies/Hematology/SCT Section Head,
Dr Karen Ballen

University of Virginia Dr Karen BallenIn 2019, we welcomed Dr Firas El Chaer to our UVa family. Firas brings expertise in leukemia and infectious disease and has already started working on investigator-initiated trials to improve care in this complex population. Craig Portell and Hillary Maitland were promoted to Associate Professor. Seven members of our team were acknowledged as extraordinary patient providers. We had another banner year at the American Society of Hematology with over 30 presentations. We also saw the opening of our beautiful new infusion unit in December 2019.

In malignant hematology, we saw over 900 new patients. Dr Craig Portell (PI), Dr Michael E. Williams and colleagues have completed an important multicenter study of ibrutinib plus venetoclax for relapsed mantle cell lymphoma. Dr Laahn Foster is leading several trials, designed to prevent relapse of myeloma. A new trial is opening to incorporate cellular-based therapy to treat patients with relapsed disease. Dr Michael Keng leads our quality initiatives and his enthusiasm has helped to engage our trainees in the American Society of Clinical Oncology quality training program. Dr Keng, with colleagues from Sloan Kettering and Penn State, is also a co-investigator on a newly funded PO1 grant. Dr Michael Douvas is starting a multicenter trial for young adults with acute lymphoid leukemia. Dr John Densmore continues to lead our undergraduate education efforts as Associate Dean, with expansion of the medical school class to Northern Virginia this coming year. Dr Fran Garrett-Bakelman was the first author on a seminal paper in Science, on the effects of gravity on cellular function following prolonged space flight.

In stem cell transplant, we performed 122 stem cell transplants and 4 CAR T in 2019. We opened our commercial CAR T program and moved cell therapy to a state of the art, GMP facility in Pinn Hall. We had a successful inspection from the FDA. Dr Leonid Volodin is studying ways to prevent and treat graft vs host disease, which remains one of the toughest problems after transplant. Dr. Tammy Kindwall-Keller is working with national teams on ways to prevent myeloma recurrence after stem cell transplant. Dr Indu Varadarajan is investigating the influence of diet on the microbiome, to decrease GVHD and infections, and has helped to expand cell therapy. Dr Karen Ballen is working on improving access to care for patients in Virginia, in partnership with the Be The Match program of donors.

In Hematology, Dr Hillary Maitland is developing an anticoagulation stewardship program and studying the application of new oral blood thinners to prevent and treat blood clots. Dr Kelly Davidson has expanded our program in Sickle Cell Anemia. Kelly is collaborating on a statewide initiative to improve care and obtain more funding for these complex patients. And we are delighted to announce the opening of our Adult Comprehensive Hemophilia and Bleeding Disorders Center, under the direction of Dr Louise Man.


Message from UVA Community Oncology Section Head, Dr Elizabeth Gaughan

University of Virginia Dr Elizabeth GaughanThe UVA Community Oncology team serves patients in Fishersville (UVA Cancer Center Augusta), Charlottesville (UVA Cancer Center Pantops) and Culpeper (UVA Cancer Center Culpeper). This eight- provider team cares for patients with the spectrum of hematologic and solid tumor diagnoses as well as manages the multidisciplinary infusion centers. Due to our convenient office locations, we are able to see patients quickly and facilitate referrals to sub-specialists at the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center, when appropriate. While clinical care is the central focus of these teams, we welcome resident and fellow trainees on ambulatory elective rotations and are members of Health System administrative committees.

In the last year, we have expanded oncology clinical trial capabilities to UVA Cancer Center Pantops and are now actively treating patients on investigational protocols. Led by Community Oncology leadership, Clinical Trial Nursing, and the UVA Cancer Center Office of Clinical Research, with support from Cancer Service Line, this success was a coordinated effort between physician, nursing, pharmacy, lab, and research teams. The inaugural effort focused on the Breast Medical Oncology trial portfolio, with work now underway on the Genitourinary and Gastrointestinal Oncology offerings. The continued enrollment and management of patients on clinical trials at UVA Cancer Center Pantops will serve as the foundation for these capabilities at other current and future satellite locations.


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